Beautiful hair begins with proper hair care. When regular shampooing and conditioning aren’t enough to keep locks looking their best, a well-chosen hair mask can lend a hand. Mask treatments are best performed at least once or twice a week, depending on your hair needs. In addition to giving hair a beautifying boost, applying a hair mask is a lovely indulgence, allowing you time to take a breather and relax.
Like skincare, however, there is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to caring for hair—which is why we’ve found the best masks for the most common hair concerns. Whether you’re battling dandruff or just looking for a little extra damage protection, there’s a mask designed with hair like yours in mind.
The concern: Those with fine hair often struggle with limp, flat hair. In addition to lacking volume, fine hair may also be prone to getting oily or “greasy” even if the hair has been recently shampooed. Fine hair types should avoid rich conditioning masks and opt for gentle, clarifying treatments.
The hair mask: Christophe Robin Cleansing Mask with Lemon, Sephora ($49)
Beneficial ingredients: Extracts of St. John’s wort, chamomile, and lemon zest cleanse and exfoliate the scalp while hydrating strands and preserving any colorants in the hair. Hair is left glossy and unencumbered.
The concern: Like skin, hair is also susceptible to UV damage. The sun’s rays can contribute to weak breakage-prone hair and faded color.
The hair mask: Philip Kingsley Swimcap Cream, PhilipKingsley.com ($38.00)
Beneficial ingredients: Swimcap contains castor and olive oil to block UV damage while also protecting hair from the drying effects of chlorinated water and seawater, making it a beach holiday staple.
The concern: Dry scalp feels tight, itchy, and uncomfortable. You may experience small flakes of dead skin around the roots, and the hair itself may also feel dehydrated. Like dry skin anywhere else, a dry scalp benefits from rich moisturizing treatments.
The hair mask: Earth’s Nectar Mint Leaves Scalp Oil, Sephora ($18.50)
Beneficial ingredients: Jojoba oil, whose molecular structure closely resembles that of skin’s natural oil, combats dryness while peppermint oil stimulates blood circulation. To use as a deep-conditioning treatment, apply oil to hair damp hair, making sure to thoroughly massage the scalp. Wrap hair in a damp, hot towel for 10 minutes.
The concern: Heat styling and chemical processing can compromise the structure of hair, making it more brittle, porous, and prone to breakage. Although breakage and split ends cannot be undone, a reparative treatment can improve the appearance of hair and help prevent further damage.
The hair mask: Briogeo Don’t Despair, Repair! Deep Conditioning Hair Mask, Sephora ($36.00)
Beneficial ingredients: B vitamins help improve the texture of hair while adding body and sheen. Rosehip oil moisturizes hair with nourishing fatty acids, and almond oil helps smooth the hair cuticle and reduce dullness. Algae extract imparts minerals, amino acids, antioxidants, and vitamins that help prevent further damage.
The concern: Frizzy hair can occur when hair is inadequately conditioned, and the hair cuticle (a strand’s outer coating) lifts and absorbs atmospheric moisture (a.k.a. humidity), resulting in unwanted fluffiness, flyaways, and frizz.
The hair mask: Shea Moisture Raw Shea & Cupuaçu Frizz Defense Hair Masque, Ulta ($12.99)
Beneficial ingredients: Raw shea butter, cupuacu butter, passiflora, and pistachio oil help moisturize and smooth hair. This richly nourishing blend coats the cuticle, creating a humidity shield.
The concern: Hair shines when it’s smooth, allowing light to reflect from strands.
When the cuticle is roughed up by general wear-and-tear or is negatively charged from combing and brushing, strands don’t lie flat resulting in dull, lackluster hair. Hair masks with smoothing agents help improve hair’s shine.
The hair mask: Alterna Haircare Bamboo Smooth Moisture Masque, Sephora ($26.00)
Beneficial ingredients: Organic bamboo extract and kendi oil deeply moisturize hair while smoothing rough, dull hair. Hair is left conditioned, manageable, and sleek.
Source: Hello Glow
The concern: Buildup of hair products and scalp’s natural oil can sit heavy on hair, usually toward the back of the scalp. The problem can be caused by an ineffective shampoo or hard (mineral-dense) water, which prevents shampoo from properly lathering and fails to fully wash away soap residue.
The hair mask: ⅓ cup baking soda, 4 tablespoons water, plus the option to include a few drops of tea tree oil (a clarifying essential oil)
Beneficial ingredients: Baking soda busts through dirt and buildup, giving shampoo a clean slate to do its intended job. Simply mix the ingredients to form a paste, apply to damp hair (focusing on the areas with the most buildup), allow to sit for 10-15 minutes then shampoo as usual.
The concern: Not to be confused with dry scalp, dandruff is often associated with excess oil. Dandruff occurs when (a harmless) yeast feeds off of excess oil, which causes skin cells to shed in flakes.
The hair mask: AG Hair Style Conditioner & Shaving Lotion Invigorating Lotion, Ulta ($45.00)
Beneficial ingredients: Zinc pyrithione, an active ingredient in anti-dandruff shampoos, fights both fungus and bacteria. Menthol, aloe vera, oats, and cucumber extract soothe the scalp and reduce itchiness. To use as a mask, apply to wet shampooed hair, focusing on the scalp and leave in for five minutes (or while you shave your legs), then rinse.